by Mike Masnick

This Year's Bogus BSA Numbers

from the ah,-this-again... dept

Like swallows returning to Capistrano, each year, the BSA (with the help of IDC) comes out with somewhat bogus numbers concerning "losses" attributed to copied software. Last year, after presenting the numbers the guy who ran the research behind them admitted that the BSA was purposely misrepresenting them, to make the problem look much bigger than it really is. The issue is that the researchers come up with a number which is "the retail value of copied software." The BSA then takes that and claims this is the amount of "losses," due to unauthorized software copying. Of course, that's nowhere near the truth but it doesn't stop the BSA from saying the same thing year in and year out. This year, they're up to the same old tricks, claiming that "losses" are increasing. It's a shame that IDC continues to do this study for the BSA, even after admitting they don't agree with how it's being marketed by the BSA. This year, the BSA is also returning to an earlier theme they've used in the past, by claiming that cracking down on software copying helps to stimulate the economy, creating a ton of jobs and tax revenue. Of course, since all of these estimates are based on the completely false assumption that every one who used copied software would pay for it, the numbers are clearly ridiculously inflated. And, of course, you have to balance these claims with actual academic research that has shown that many developing nations see their economies grow faster when they have loose intellectual property laws -- stats supported by the results in the Netherlands and Switzerland during periods of time when both countries went without patents.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Bret McDanel, 11 Jul 2005 @ 2:51am

    One other thing about the data

    One missing thing about this data is that the retail "losses" do not count the retail *costs*. A certain amount of the cost of a retail product is for packaging, physical materials (cdrom, manuals, etc) and for transportation costs and other direct costs to get the product to the shelves so that it can be sold.

    While wholesalers, distribution companies, retail stores, etc all make a profit off their share, part of their costs to the software publisher are their costs to provide this service.

    While it could be argued that support companies like those mentioned do lose money, lets face it they dont make a billion copies of a software title in the hopes that it will sell, they do a little research and only make what they resonably expect to sell (why sometimes when there is high demand there are no copies available on the shelves). As such these companies do not really lose by software piracy becuase those copies would never have been manufactured, shipped and sitting on the shelves.

    Take this out and you are looking at least 50% of the retail cost of a product, in many cases more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.